ESPN and Verizon have resolved a legal battle that began when the popular sports network sued the FiOS provider over its unconventional "Custom TV" channel packages last year. Verizon announced more flexible (and slimmer) programming bundles last April that gave customers the choice of keeping or excluding ESPN from their main subscription. ESPN cried foul, claiming that Verizon's new approach violated the existing distribution agreement between Verizon and Disney, ESPN's parent company.
Now both sides say they've settled the disagreement, but specific terms will remain confidential. ESPN and Verizon have each issued cozy PR statements about how important they are to each other. That's quite different from the war of words that ensued when this quarrel began. Verizon's Custom TV, squarely aimed at cord cutters (and an answer to internet TV services like Sling TV), offers a main bundle of channels for $55 and lets subscribers tack on additional content packs for more money. Under this model, ESPN and ESPN2 were broken off into an optional sports package, which didn't sit well with the sports programming giant. Now, the two companies have bridged their differences — and the resolution comes as others like YouTube and Hulu are reportedly working on cable replacements of their own.